In commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, The Vilna Shul at 18 Phillips St. will offer a multi-faceted and interactive event on Sunday, Jan. 28, from 3 to 5 p.m.
The event, co-sponsored by Facing History and Ourselves and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, and presented in partnership with Boston’s 3G and the American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, will open with a gallery talk by Boston-area photographer and montage artist, Leslie Starobinsky, along with a viewing of her photo exhibit, ‘Looming in the Shadows of Lodz.’ The event will also feature a screening of ‘Who Will Write Our History?’ – filmmaker Roberta Grossman’s documentary about the Oyneg Shabes Archive.
As recounted in Sam Kassow’s book ‘Who Will Write Our History,’ Polish journalist Emanuel Ringelblum was interned in the Warsaw ghetto, along with over 400,000 Jews, during World War II. Recognizing that the stories of the Warsaw ghetto would only be told from the Nazi perspective as eventually no Jews would be left alive there Ringelblum organized the clandestine Oyneg Shabes Archive. Its objective was to document and preserve the stories of Warsaw Jews, as well as the challenges and small victories they faced in the ghetto. At the risk to their own lives, and with what little supplies they had available, around 60 people collected stories, drawings, journal and diary entries, letters from the underground, and other forms of documentation. Before the Nazis liquidated the ghetto, Ringelblum and his colleagues buried these materials in six cachets, five of which were located and collected at the end of WWII. These archival materials are now on display in various museums, including at Yad Vashem and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Following the screening of Grossman’s documentary, conversations will center on such questions as Why is it important who tells your story?; What are the consequences of someone else telling your story?; In what ways can we be sensitive to the idea that as we consume news today, the identity of the storyteller will shape our perception of the story and the people involved?; How does this relate to your own experiences consuming and/or producing media?; Whose story do I tell, and how do I tell it?; What story about my community and culture should I preserve for future generations?; How is storytelling a form of resistance? ; and What tools can we use to tell our stories?
Participants will then have the opportunity to share what they have created with another participant whose story is different from their own. In this way, the program intends to build community, create connections between participants of varied backgrounds, and engage attendees in dynamic experiences linking history to their own stories and legacies.
Members of Boston’s Armenian and Cambodian communities will also participate in the event.
Tickets for the event cost $18 each. Visit https://vilnashul.org/events/event/ihrd to purchase tickets or for more information.